Why Vin Diesel Is Serious About Stunts

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Vin Diesel is rocking a dramatically different look for his upcoming film The Last Witch Hunter -- sporting a shaggy mohawk and long beard -- but the action star is as serious as ever about his stunt work.

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The 48-year-old actor opened up to ET about how the death of his stunt double on the set of 2002’s xXx made him take rehearsal and stunt work much more seriously.

"There was a bad experience early on, where we lost one of the stunt guys; a guy named Harry O'Connor -- who was a great guy -- on xXx," Diesel said. O’Connor died during a rappelling stunt when he hit a bridge at high speed and was killed instantly.

"That was a big eye opener for me and that probably more than anything has made me that focused on safety and rehearsal. I probably take it -- take the rehearsal of action sequences and choreography -- that much more serious because of it," he continued.

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Serious, but not slowing down anytime soon, if the worldwide success of Furious 7 is any indicator. In fact, the actor was recently ranked by Forbes as the 3rd highest-paid actor in the world.

"It feels good when you describe it as impressive," the action star told ET’s Carly Steel. "At some point when you reach that level of success you're able to do things like The Last Witch Hunter that are completely original."

Also starring Rose Leslie, Michael Caine and Elijah Wood, The Last Witch Hunter is about the last remaining witch hunter who must go to battle against an uprising of witches in modern day New York. While the supernatural adventure movie could be considered a risk for some actors, but not so much when you have as much pull as Diesel.

"I never started out wanting to be an action star," he admitted. "I started acting when I was 7, so I grew up in the theater community. When I wasn't getting any work I started bouncing at nightclubs. Ten years of bouncing at nightclubs in New York gives you something."

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